Confessionals vs. Aspirationals

I was looking through some of my writings from the pandemic year and I found the following from February 2020. It’s worth sharing because I believe that thinking small holds us back from challenging ourselves. And I’m dealing with what do I want and what am I willing to do for it. It’s interesting to see what has changed in two and a half years.

I’m finding that making my creative projects be my source of income turns what was for fun into Work (with a capital “W”). It has happened with everything I’ve tried. I’ve been wondering how much do I really want what I think I want, because there is a price for everything—whether it’s money, time, responsibility or stress.

Not being brought up Catholic, or any religion, I had to get my head around confessionals. It finally occurred to me that stating your wrong doings, or sins, is putting it out in the open and when you put something out in the open it’s not so scary. You can actually look at it and deal with it. It becomes real.

I’ve read in so many books so many times that writing down your goals makes them real. I think we should have a confessional for one’s biggest dreams.

How often do people feel that they are egotistical if they dream big? Others say, “oh that’s not realistic” or “who do you think you are?” or “you’re a big dreamer.”

I think we need the Confessional booths to be turned into Aspirational booths. Yes, Aspirationals is a made up word. I feel that aspiration (“a strong desire to achieve something high or great” Miriam-Webster) is very different from inspiration (“the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions” Miriam-Webster). In the dark private space of an Aspirational, I could say all of the BIG things that I want without feeling like I have to apologize for wanting them. Here goes:

I want to be on a sitcom that runs for 7 seasons. (I only want 3-4 seasons now.)

I want to be in a movie that films abroad. No, I want to be the supporting character in MANY movies that film abroad.

I want to have a 3500 square foot house where I can host visiting artists, musicians, & actors. I will host 2 exchange students and host monthly soirees. I want to have enough money that I have a gardener, housekeeper and someone to manage all of the house expenses and scheduling.

I want chandeliers. (I actually have three more since I wrote this!)

Oh, this is fun, I’m just getting started!

I want to drive a 1960’s Jaguar XKE. No, I want to own a 1960’s Jaguar and have a driver.

Boy this admitting big dreams actually takes some work!!

I want to tour the world, playing flute solos with all sorts of ensembles and being the guest artist at liberal arts colleges and new music festivals.

I want to have my opera FIVE produced again.

I want an art studio at my house with two rooms: one for my oil painting and one for jewelry. (Now I want a third room for sewing.)

I want to pay for my nieces’ and nephew’s college. (My relatives are taken care of. Now, I’d like to have an endowment to pay for tuition for 50 people who are the first person in their family to go to college.)

I want to donate the same amount that I spend. (I actually started my own luxury tax where I donate 10% of all my discretionary spending.)

I want to be a motivational speaker. (I’m writing blogs!)

I want to have enough time to do everything I want.

I want to be important enough that my flute repairman will get me in right away to fix my flute when I have an emergency or important concert or recording.

Here are more from now:

I want to snowboard all over the world.

I’d like a daily personal trainer.

I want to have a kitchen large enough to have two ovens and an island in the middle.

I’d like to own a Los Angeles house that graduating students from CalArts could live in for the first three to five years after graduating without worrying about having to pay rent.

I’d like to fly places in my own private jet with my own private pilot.

I’d like to have other people pay for turning my scripts into films.

I want to have a lead in an off-Broadway play that my niece lights.

I want to compete in auto cross.

I want to fund community centers that bring people together of different opinions and help them talk and listen to each other, with the goal of bridging our divide.

I’d like a saltwater hot-tub and a salt water swim-jet pool.

Not much has changed in my big desires, but a lot has changed in my willingness to sacrifice for them. I found that writing these down actually made me feel a bit humble with the way I’m living my life now. I actually feel a lot of gratitude for what I do have. I can take responsibility for  the choices I’ve made because it shows me what I value. On NPR the other day, I heard the expert say,

“it’s not if you are racist or not, it’s about looking at everything you have because of systemic racism.”

It’s about privilege and acknowledging the benefits you were born with or into. That doesn’t mean you can’t aspire.

I hope you try this exercise. Let me know what it does for you in the comments.